Columbia Begins Suspending Pro-Palestinian Protesters Defying Deadline

Columbia University has said that it has started handing out suspensions to students at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment starting Monday evening

Columbia Begins Suspending Pro-Palestinian Protesters Defying Deadline

Columbia University has commenced suspensions of students engaged in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a pro-Palestinian demonstration on campus, after they failed to comply with a dispersal ultimatum.

College authorities had earlier cautioned that those remaining at the two-week encampment past the 14:00 EST deadline on Monday would face disciplinary measures. Despite this warning, numerous students persisted in rallying at the site as the deadline lapsed.

Similar protests have sprung up across the United States following the clearance of another encampment at Columbia earlier this month, intensifying pressure on the university's leadership.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson condemned the situation, decrying what he termed as the "overrun" of the campus by antisemitic “mobs.” He called for accountability, urging Columbia's president, Nemat Shafik, to resign.

Prior to the deadline, a coalition of House Democrats urged Columbia's board of trustees to either take decisive action to disband the encampment or step down themselves, citing concerns over antisemitic incidents targeting Jewish students.

The encampment at the Ivy League university in New York has become a focal point in the national discourse on the Gaza conflict and US policy towards Israel, amid fears of escalating antisemitism endangering Jewish students.

Efforts by university officials to resolve the situation through dialogue were unsuccessful, leading to the initiation of disciplinary procedures against encampment participants who remained beyond the deadline.

Students who voluntarily departed the protest by the designated time were offered the opportunity to complete their semesters, but those who stayed faced suspension and temporary campus bans, with graduating students rendered ineligible for graduation.

Despite the threat of disciplinary action, the main group involved, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, vowed to defy the order and urged activists to protect the encampment.

Student supporters continued to congregate at the encampment site, accompanied by a human chain of faculty and staff members at the entrance. Meanwhile, police presence remained on standby without immediate plans for arrests or evictions.